Summary of the Corporate Business Plan 2020–21
From: Canada Revenue Agency
With perspectives to 2022–23
On this page
- Message from the Minister
- Message from the Commissioner
- Foreword by the Chair
- CRA at a glance
- Raison d'être, mandate and role
- Our operating context
- Providing a seamless service experience
- Maintaining fairness in Canada's tax and benefits administration
- Strengthening trust, transparency and accountability
- Enabling innovation
- Empowering our people to excel
- Spending and human resources
- Supplementary information
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Canada Revenue Agency
To administer tax, benefits, and related programs and ensure compliance on behalf of governments across Canada, thereby contributing to the ongoing economic and social well-being of Canadians.
Trusted, fair and helpful by putting people first.
Integrity: We establish and preserve trust with all stakeholders by applying the law fairly and upholding our standards.
Professionalism: We are knowledgeable, accurate, conscientious, innovative, and service-oriented.
Respect: We interact with people in a way that makes them feel heard and valued. We listen and respond judiciously.
Collaboration: We recognize and act on opportunities to work together to deliver the Agency's mandate. We consult and share ideas, fostering innovation and improving the service experience, both internally and externally.
I am honoured to have been re-appointed Minister of National Revenue by the Prime Minister, and I look forward to continuing to implement a client-based service model that is fair and user friendly.
The CRA has an ambitious agenda, which will be realized by enabling innovation, as well as by empowering and maintaining a thriving, collaborative workforce that combines its strengths to contribute to a transforming Canada.
This plan describes what the CRA is doing to improve Canadians' service experience, by ensuring that its programs are modern and client-based, and that they meet Canadians' expectations of quality, timeliness and accuracy of information received. The CRA is exploring ways to use emerging technology and better leverage available data to improve service delivery. It will also work with provinces and territories to reduce Canadians' tax compliance burden through simplification of federal and provincial tax forms for individuals and businesses.
To facilitate Canadians' interactions with the CRA, it is focusing on using plain language in all communications, whether digital or paper-based. The goal is to ensure correspondence and other communications are straightforward and easy to read. They will also proactively contact more Canadians who are eligible for, but not receiving, benefits. Finally, it will continue to improve its services to different segments of the population, for example for Indigenous peoples, lower-income Canadians, those on fixed incomes, and seniors.
Canadians can be assured that the CRA is working hard to maintain the fairness of Canada's tax and benefits administration. The CRA will continue to combat tax evasion, aggressive tax avoidance and the underground economy to help ensure a fair tax system and a level playing field for all.
In administering tax and benefits, the CRA collects and stores Canadians' private information. The CRA takes its responsibility to protect this information very seriously, and this plan describes how the CRA will improve the protection of taxpayer information against external and internal threats.
I invite you to read on to find out more about what the CRA is doing to better serve Canadians and protect Canada's tax revenue. As the Minister of National Revenue, I am very proud to present the Canada Revenue Agency’s Corporate Business Plan 2020–21 with perspectives to 2022–23.
The Honourable Diane Lebouthillier, P.C., M.P.
Minister of National Revenue
On behalf of the Canada Revenue Agency's Board of Management (Board), I am pleased to recommend the Corporate Business Plan 2020–21 with perspectives to 2022–23 to the Honourable Diane Lebouthillier, Minister of National Revenue. The Board is responsible for the development of the CRA's annual Corporate Business Plan and the oversight of the CRA's organization and administration, and the management of its resources, services, property, personnel and contracts.
Over the past few years, the CRA has focused on transforming the service it provides to Canadians. The Board understands this change will take time and will require a level of care. As a result, the Board formed a Service Transformation Subcommittee to work with the CRA's Chief Service Officer to assist and guide the organization's service transformation strategy. The Board expects this transformation to ensure every client interacting with the CRA feels respected, heard, and supported.
Good service underpins our objective of voluntary compliance. Most Canadians understand the role and benefits of taxation and we want to ensure a system where all individual Canadians and business owners pay their fair share of taxes and also receive those credits and benefits for which they are eligible. Small and medium businesses are an integral part of the Canadian economy and good client service by the CRA will help those businesses comply with Canada's tax laws, support business growth and generate a strong economy. The Board will continue to exercise its oversight role and provide guidance to the CRA to ensure the realization of measurable results for continued service improvements for Canadians, as part of its service transformation journey.
Service and our people are strategically linked. To provide good service, the CRA will benefit from a workforce that is diverse, well-trained and focused on client service. This is an area where the Board shares a high degree of pride with management. Across the country, from St. John's to Vancouver and now in our northern offices, we have incredible employees who care passionately about the Canadians they serve. We are continually impressed with their passion for their work and their communities. The CRA has received numerous accolades and awards as a workplace of choice and we continue to attract and retain some of the best and brightest across the country.
The Board will work with the CRA to ensure that it has competent, diverse and dynamic leaders who can lead the CRA's workforce into the future. We will continue to support management so that the CRA has a diverse, inclusive, trained and engaged workforce that adapts well to the current and future changing technological environment. The Board will also encourage student recruitment and retention as part of the CRA's succession planning, and will encourage and celebrate social responsibility initiatives at both the regional and national levels.
While service and our people remain a top focus, the Board also prioritizes a number of other strategic objectives, and remains committed to efficiency and effectiveness. Rooted in the five strategic priorities outlined in this plan, these objectives will be the focus of particular attention by the Board over the coming year.
Cybersecurity: Recent cybersecurity incidents around the globe have underscored the importance of continually investing in information technology security to safeguard the information clients entrust to the CRA. We will continue to monitor and work with the CRA to ensure rigorous data security and integrity, including the support provided by Shared Services Canada.
Data: The Board recognizes the wealth of data held by the CRA. We will encourage the CRA to explore new information management and data mining tools to realize the benefits of its immense data bank, and use this data to drive better-informed business decisions. The end result for Canadians will be a more productive, cost efficient, nimble, and service-oriented CRA. Privacy and security of taxpayers' information are of paramount importance to the Board, and we will continue to monitor the CRA's efforts in this area.
Emerging Technology: Another area which will enable a strong service to Canadians over the near and long term is innovation. The Board oversees the CRA's technology roadmap and will continue to push management to explore new business practices, emerging technologies, such as artificial intelligence and robotic processing, as enablers for achieving strategic priorities and the CRA's vision. Furthermore, we know that these technologies must be closely planned and monitored. We will ensure the CRA incorporates ethical considerations and follows established industry norms and principles when implementing emerging technologies.
Project Management: To ensure effective and efficient resource management, the Board will continue to oversee integrated project planning at the CRA, where every project phase is considered and checks and balances are in place to ensure timely and efficient project delivery, and on budget. The Board will encourage the CRA to further develop its project management capacity, including change management, and will pay particular attention to the benefits realization of the major projects under the Board's oversight.
Governance and risk: This past year, the Board focused on governance renewal, including a review of the Board's performance and identifying efficiencies to ensure its effectiveness. As a result, a number of best practices have been implemented, a plan for continued improvements has been developed, and the CRA was awarded the 2019 Best Overall Corporate Governance by the Governance Professionals of Canada, who acknowledged the Board for its role in recent improvements. A primary responsibility of the Board is policy oversight. The Board reviews policies, including applying a risk lens, to provide direction to the CRA and, where possible, streamline the practices. The Board will continue to oversee and consider risk through timely discussions and consideration of emerging trends as well as focusing on the corporate risk profile.
Although we have many accomplishments to celebrate from the year, we continue to push forward to meet the expectations of Canadians. The Board, working with CRA senior management, will ensure we continue on our service journey and that we continue to strive to be a world-class tax and benefit administration that serves the needs of all clients.
Chair, Board of Management
I am proud to be the Commissioner of the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) as it celebrates its twentieth anniversary. Looking back over the more than three years that I have been part of the CRA, I am inspired by how far we have come and how much we have accomplished. This plan outlines the priorities that we will pursue to continue to contribute to the economic and social well-being of Canadians as a world-class tax and benefits administration.
The CRA has adopted a People First philosophy, which places people at the centre of everything that we do. We engage Canadians to understand their needs and expectations, and are using this understanding as the basis for how we design our programs and deliver our services. As much as this philosophy will guide how we interact with Canadians, it will also support CRA managers and employees to strengthen our service culture and ensure a healthy workplace.
Our responsibility is to help people understand and meet their obligations and promote compliance. The onus is on us to communicate clearly, listen attentively, act in a timely manner and provide education and guidance to foster long‑term compliance.
This being said, we will maintain the fairness of Canada's tax and benefits systems, enforcing compliance as necessary. We will apply enforcement tools responsibly and professionally based on the degree of the taxpayer's non-compliance, and resolve situations in a timely manner. The CRA will refine and enhance its data analytics and business intelligence, while making use of better risk assessment and more tailored approaches to address the highest risk areas of non-compliance within Canada and internationally. We will make it easier for people who want to comply and harder for those who do not.
I am deeply committed to open and honest communication—where the CRA is transparent about both its successes and challenges—because it is an important aspect of how we will earn and maintain the trust of Canadians. This trust in the integrity of our administration is the bedrock of Canada's self-assessment tax system. With the fast rate at which technology is advancing, a key concern of Canadians is the constant threat these changes present to the security of information. I want to reassure Canadians that the CRA continues to work diligently to identify these threats and improve our cyber security posture, and prevent and detect fraud and the misuse of information.
More and more, the public expects government institutions to adapt to change quickly and efficiently, often by adopting the latest in technology. We will adopt new approaches, technological tools and processes to take advantage of increasingly sophisticated analytics and respond to evolving client expectations.
The key to success as we carry out our activities is our people. The CRA will focus on maintaining a respectful and healthy workplace. We will draw strength from our diversity and count on leadership that possesses the character needed to achieve our goals. Our commitment to a diverse and high‑performing workforce, supported by productive union-management dialogue, will help us build and maintain a knowledgeable workforce with the agility needed to meet current and future requirements. Our efforts have been recognized, for the third year in a row, with the CRA being named one of Canada Top 100 Employers and one of the Top 100 Employers for Canadians Over 40, and we will work hard to maintain this distinction.
This plan shows how we are building a culture of service excellence. We will tap into employee knowledge and experience to bring innovative, client‑centric approaches to our everyday work.
I am proud of this plan and believe it positions us well for the next three years as we continue to strive to be a world-class tax and benefits administration.
Commissioner of the Canada Revenue Agency
* Canada child benefits payment information was transferred to Public Services and Procurement Canada; direct deposits were made, and cheques distributed on time based on the benefit payment schedule.
** 2019 tax-filing season
*** Returns completed by May 15, 2019
This graphic represents key performance results achieved by the CRA during the 2018-19 fiscal year. In the background is a map of Canada, separated according to the CRA's operational regions, and showing the number of full-time employees (FTEs) working in each region.
Beginning on the West coast, the CRA's Western Region, which includes British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Yukon Territory and the Northwest Territories, is shown in light green, and indicates the total number of FTEs at 10,123.
Next is the Ontario Region, which includes Ontario and Nunavut, shown in light orange and indicating a total number of FTEs at 11,184.
Next is the Quebec Region, shown in darker green and indicating a total number of FTEs at 4,564.
Finally, the Atlantic Region, which includes Newfoundland and Labrador, Prince Edward Island, New Brunswick and Nova Scotia, is shown in purple, indicates the total number of FTEs at 3,817.
At the bottom of the map, near the border of Ontario and Quebec, the total number of FTEs for Headquarters is marked as 11,387.
At the top of the map, to the right, is the total number of FTEs that work for the CRA across the country, at 41,075.
Around the map, clockwise from top left, are a number of key results from the 2018-19 fiscal year:
- 91.9% of individuals paid their reported taxes on time.
- 85.7% of corporation income taxes were paid on time.
- $34.8 billion in benefits issued.
- 100% of Canada child benefit payments were issued on time. This result has a footnote that reads "Canada child benefit payment information was transferred to Public Services and Procurement Canada; direct deposits were made, and cheques distributed on time based on the benefit payment schedule."
- 83.3% of the CRA's services are available online.
- Total administered revenues and pension contributions, over $457 billion.
- 835,216 returns completed through the Community Volunteer Income Tax Program. This result has a footnote that reads "Returns completed by May 15, 2019."
- $1.9 billion in incremental debt collected as a result of Budget 2016 investments.
- 91.2% of corporation income tax returns filed digitally.
- 88.6% of income tax and benefit returns filed digitally. This result has a footnote that reads "2019 tax-filing season."
The Minister of National Revenue is responsible for the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA). The raison d'être of the CRA is to administer taxes, benefits, and related programs for governments across Canada. The CRA contributes to the economic and social well-being of Canadians by making sure that:
- clients receive the information and services they need to comply with their tax obligations
- clients receive the benefits for which they are eligible
- non-compliance is addressed
- clients have access to appropriate mechanisms for resolving disputes
The CRA's mandate is legislated through acts including the Income Tax Act, the Excise Tax Act and the Excise Act, which the CRA administers. In fulfilling our core responsibilities, our role is to collect taxes on behalf of most provinces and territories, collect certain non-tax debts for the federal government and administer legislation relating to charities, the Canada Pension Plan, other registered plans and the employment insurance program.
Core responsibility: tax
The CRA's core responsibility for tax is to ensure that Canada's self-assessment tax system is sustained by providing clients with the support and information they need to understand and fulfill their tax obligations. The CRA also takes compliance and enforcement actions when necessary to uphold the integrity of the system. When clients disagree with an assessment or decision we have made, we offer avenues for redress.
Activities related to our core responsibility for tax include:
- informing clients of their rights, responsibilities and entitlements under Canada's tax laws and the Taxpayer Bill of Rights
- issuing rulings and interpretations to clarify the application of tax law
- processing and assessing client returns and collecting taxes owing or refunding excess income tax paid
- doing reviews and audits, applying various penalties, and investigating suspected cases of willful non-compliance for criminal behaviour
- offering a process for resolving disputes
- registering businesses, charities and deferred income and savings plans
- determining insurability and pensionability for employment insurance and the Canada Pension Plan
- resolving cases of double taxation with tax treaty partners
The CRA administers tax legislation and revenues, including income and sales taxes and employment insurance premiums, as well as amounts, like Canada Pension Plan contributions, for other groups or organizations. We also deliver a number of social benefit programs to Canadians for the federal, provincial and territorial governments, and First Nations and Indigenous self-governments.
The CRA also administers programs that provide billions of dollars in incentives for scientific research and experimental development, film and media production, and other targeted credits and deductions that generate refunds or reduce the amount of tax that clients would otherwise owe. Through these tax incentives, the Government of Canada helps encourage the pursuit of knowledge, ideas and technologies that stimulate economic growth and competitiveness.
|2020–21 Main Estimates
||2020–21 Planned spending||2021–22 Planned spending||2022–23 Planned spending|
|2020–21 Planned full-time equivalents||2021–22 Planned full-time equivalents||2022–23 Planned full-time equivalents|
The following indicators are used by the CRA to assess its overall progress toward the achievement of its expected result for its tax core responsibility. For more information on the methodologies used to calculate these indicators, go to GC InfoBase.
Expected result: Canadians voluntarily comply with their tax obligations, non-compliance is addressed, and Canadians have trust in the CRA.
|Percentage of individual tax returns filed on time
|Percentage of businesses registered for GST/HST
||Target to be established by December 2020|
|Percentage of reported tax liabilities paid on time||Target to be established by April 2020|
|Percentage of external service standards targets that are met or mostly metFootnote 1||90%|
|Public perception index: Service experience
||Target to be established by December 2020|
|Public perception index: Trust
||Target to be established by December 2020|
|Percentage of Canadians who participate in the tax system
||Target to be established by April 2020|
|Ratio of collectible tax debt to total net receipts (cash accounting)
||Target to be established by April 2020|
|Number of individuals helped by the Community Volunteer Income Tax Program
|Incremental revenue resulting from Budget investments||$1.7B|
|Incremental debt collected (resolved) resulting from budget 2016 investments||$7.4B by March 2021|
Core responsibility: benefits
The CRA's core responsibility for benefits is to ensure that clients obtain the support and information they need to know what benefits they may be eligible to receive, that they receive their benefit payments in a timely manner, and have avenues of redress when they disagree with a decision on their benefit eligibility.
The CRA administers the Canada child benefit, the goods and services tax/harmonized sales tax credit, children's special allowances, the disability tax credit, the Canada workers benefit and provincial/territorial programs. The CRA uses its federal tax delivery infrastructure to administer 181 services and ongoing benefits and one-time payment programs on behalf of the provinces and territories. These income-tested benefits and other services contribute directly to the economic and social well‑being of Canadians by supporting families and children.
|2020–21 Main Estimates||2020–21 Planned spending||2021–22 Planned spending||2022–23 Planned spending|
|2020–21 Planned full-time equivalents||2021–22 Planned full-time equivalents||2022–23 Planned full-time equivalents|
The following indicators are used by the CRA to assess its overall progress toward the achievement of its expected result for its benefits core responsibility. For more information on the methodologies used to calculate these indicators, go to GC InfoBase.
Expected result: Canadians receive their rightful benefits in a timely manner.
|Percentage of Canada child benefit (CCB) payments issued to recipients on time
|Percentage of respondents satisfied with overall benefits experience||Target to be established by December 2020|
|Percentage of taxpayers (benefit recipients) who filed a return as a result of targeted CRA intervention
Internal services are those groups of related activities and resources that the federal government considers to be services in support of programs and/or required to meet corporate obligations of an organization. Internal services refer to the activities and resources of ten distinct service categories that support program delivery in the organization, regardless of the internal services model in an agency or department. These services are: acquisition management services, communications services, financial management services, human resources management services, information management services, information technology services, legal services, materiel management services, management and oversight services, and real property management services.
|2020–21 Main Estimates||2020–21 Planned spending||2021–22 Planned spending||2022–23 Planned spending|
|2020–21 Planned full-time equivalents||2021–22 Planned full-time equivalents||2022–23 Planned full-time equivalents|
Gender-based Analysis Plus
The CRA, through this plan, supports the Government of Canada's priority to achieve gender equality and inclusive government. The CRA applies the Gender-based Analysis Plus (GBA+) lens by examining policies, programs, initiatives or services at the appropriate development stage for its impacts on diverse groups of women, men and gender diverse people. The "plus" in GBA+ acknowledges that GBA goes beyond biological (sex) and socio‑cultural (gender) differences; GBA+ considers many identity factors, like race, ethnicity, religion, age, and mental or physical disability. The CRA will continue to actively monitor its programs and services throughout their lifecycle to ensure they respond to the diverse needs of Canadians. The CRA reports annually on progress in its Departmental Results Report.
The CRA conducts regular environmental scans and maintains a corporate risk profile to identify and manage key challenges and pursue opportunities related to its core responsibilities. The CRA and its Board of Management have identified the following areas as being of particular interest over the planning period.
Designing and delivering people-centred services
The CRA promotes tax compliance and administers benefits through outreach activities, offering general and targeted client assistance, and by educating clients about their obligations and entitlements. Communicating with complete, accurate, clear and timely information helps our clients feel valued, gives them greater confidence in managing their financial affairs, and makes them more likely to comply with Canada's tax laws. The CRA is dedicated to delivering services in ways that meet the needs of its clients.
Protecting the revenue base
Protecting the integrity of Canada's self-assessment system is one of the CRA's fundamental roles. To foster trust and fairness, clients need to feel everyone pays their required share, and the CRA needs to help them meet their obligation to do so. When clients make mistakes or do not have all the information they need to, for example, file an accurate return, the CRA applies the law responsibly, with an emphasis on education and assistance. It is important that clients know that those who choose not to pay the tax they owe will face enforcement action.
This pullout quote states: "The CRA is dedicated to delivering services in ways that meet the needs of its clients"
Technology continues to be a key enabler for service delivery, both internally and externally, making it easier and more convenient for individuals and businesses to interact with the CRA. Advanced data analytics gives the CRA greater insight into client behaviour so that serious non‑compliance and deliberate attempts to evade Canada's tax laws can be more precisely and rapidly targeted. Emerging technologies—such as artificial intelligence and robotic process automation—offer significant potential to evolve the CRA's business model and address some of the expectations of its clients. They also carry risks that our organization must effectively manage.
Managing information and data
Information is the basis by which all CRA decisions are made. Underpinning these decisions are the data that we create, collect, send, receive and capture. The strategic management, use and governance of these data is critical to data-driven decision‑making and to helping the CRA tailor its services and activities to its clients.
The growth in the volume of structured and unstructured data in digital form presents ongoing challenges. The CRA must continue to ensure its authenticity, accuracy, integrity, and completeness. This also supports the CRA's contribution to the federal Open Government initiative, which provides easy and consistent access to aggregated CRA information and data in open, standardized, digital formats.
This pullout quote states: "The strategic management, use and governance of data is helping the CRA tailor its services and activities to its clients.
The CRA has an obligation to prevent and detect any unauthorized access or disclosure of information about its clients and employees, government property or valuables, and any taxpayer property that is in our possession or control. Clients want assurance that the CRA handles data with the utmost security and respect for privacy. This is a challenge with cyber threats that continue to increase in number and complexity; a cyber attack can temporarily disrupt the availability of the CRA's services and place at risk the security of personal information that clients have submitted to the CRA. The CRA takes its responsibilities very seriously, continuously enhancing its electronic and physical security controls, and managing a wide range of security risks in a fast‑changing environment while furthering our organization's service transformation agenda.
Building and maintaining an effective workforce
The CRA continues to build and maintain an effective workforce of agile thinkers, decision-makers and problem solvers. We are looking to hire the right people, and to equip all our employees with the modern tools and training that they need when they need it. This will ensure that we have the specialized skill sets to support client-centred service in both official languages, the optimal use of technology, and targeted data analysis.
A healthy workforce and workplace are critical to the accomplishment of organizational goals. For this reason, the CRA is committed to employee well‑being in an environment where staff is free from harassment and discrimination. The CRA also strives to achieve strength through social and cultural diversity within our workforce by actively recruiting with a view to reflect the society that it serves.
The Board of Management and the CRA have identified the following five priorities to guide the delivery of the CRA's core responsibilities during the period covered by this plan and to help ensure that the CRA remains a world-class tax and benefits administration:
- Providing a seamless service experience
- Maintaining fairness in Canada's tax and benefits administration
- Strengthening trust, transparency and accountability
- Enabling innovation
- Empowering our people to excel
The CRA's priorities guide the realization of its mandate and delivery of its core responsibilities for tax and benefits.
We approach our administrative responsibilities with the underlying premise that most people are honest and—given the opportunity and the right services—will comply with the law. All the services and activities the CRA carries out fall along a continuum that runs from facilitating and promoting continued compliance to enforcing compliance through a series of checks and balances, verifications and audits, and criminal investigations. We do this to ensure that the law has been respected, so that Canadians continue to benefit from the programs that contribute to their economic and social well‑being. Clients who do not agree with our decisions can seek redress through our dispute resolution process, and through Canada's courts.
The first priority we discuss, Providing a seamless service experience, sets out the steps we are taking to improve how we promote and facilitate compliance. For those who intentionally seek to avoid meeting their tax obligations, we must take responsible enforcement action in support of our second priority, Maintaining fairness in Canada's tax and benefits administration.
The Board of Management will oversee the management of the agency's resources, services, property, personnel and contracts to deliver on these priorities.
The remaining three priorities make critical contributions to enabling our success in achieving our mandate to make sure clients pay their fair share of taxes and receive their rightful share of benefits. Strengthening trust, transparency and accountability will allow us to maintain the public's trust, increase client satisfaction and positively influence overall voluntary compliance rates. Through Enabling innovation, the CRA will change and adapt to find efficiencies in the design and delivery of services our clients need, as well as explore the use of new tools to maintain fairness. None of this is possible, of course, without the contribution of our employees, which is why the CRA is working towards Empowering our people to excel.
As described in last year's Corporate Business Plan, the CRA has embarked on a journey to transform the way it designs and delivers its programs and services using a client-centric approach. Our ultimate goal is that regardless of the channel used to interact with the CRA, clients will have a seamless service experience and access to easy-to-understand information they need to comply and receive benefits for which they are eligible. It also means that CRA employees are service-oriented, so they understand and consider the diverse needs and circumstances of our clients when providing information or making a decision. While we have made progress in this area, as described in the CRA's 2018–19 Departmental Results Report, we continue to explore ways to make further improvements.
We will look at how to better use technology and business innovations to proactively ensure compliance and shift some of the administrative burden away from our clients. This involves adopting a client-centric approach to designing and delivering our internal and external programs and services, and fostering a culture of service with all employees.
Our journey to transform our programs and services began with extensive consultations with CRA employees and our clients on how we can serve them better. In particular, we gathered online and face‑to‑face feedback from individuals about the programs and services we offer, through the Serving Canadians Better consultations. These sessions made it clear that, while we are on the right track, there is more work to do.
This pullout quote states: "The CRA has embarked on a journey to transform the way it designs and delivers its programs and services using a client-centric approach."
One of the ways that we can continue to improve is to make our services easier to use by gaining a better understanding of the experiences of those we serve. This means understanding clients' needs, expectations, and preferred methods of interaction and working with them to design our programs and services to meet their needs. Our intent is to respond to the feedback we received by further enhancing our digital services, strengthening our communication and website, and clarifying available payment options for clients. We will look to improve their end-to-end experience in ways that meet their needs.
We also consulted with small and medium enterprises and their representatives. On June 10, 2019, we released the report on the CRA's 2018 Serving You Better Consultations with Small and Medium Businesses. This report sets out improvements that the CRA will put in place by 2021, in response to this feedback.
One year into our journey, we believe we are well on our way to building a consistently excellent client experience. We have taken important foundational steps inside our organization by:
- adopting a new vision (Trusted, fair and helpful by putting people first)
- committing ourselves to a set of principles—developed with CRA employees—that guide our decision-making and how we work
- affirming our core values of professionalism, collaboration, integrity and respect for all
Built on the commitments set out in the Taxpayer Bill of Rights, our new service identity sets the foundation for transforming the CRA, one that is strongly supported by our employees. Developed with the input of our employees, our transformation objective is to place people at the centre of everything we do, with a view to increasing trust in the CRA and fostering sustainable compliance with Canada's tax and benefits legislation. Some of these improvements require major changes to our systems and the way we operate; we will make them over time, ensuring proper pacing, appropriate use of our resources, and maintaining ongoing operations.
Consultations revealed clients appreciate improvements we have made to the process of filing returns and the support provided to clients through the Community Volunteer Income Tax Program, our use of the latest technologies, making information easier to understand and making services more accessible and personalized.
This image shows three generic figures representing our diverse client base. There two larger figures, meant to represent adults, and smaller figure meant to represent a child. Directly above them is the CRA's service identity, which reads "Being helpful and fair builds trust and contributes to the ongoing economic and social well-being of Canada." To the right of this image are the three main components of this service identity, and the actions, in bullet form, that the CRA has committed to making a reality. The first component is "Respectful" and the actions below it are "Listen actively" "Be courteous and professional" "Understand and respond with good judgement to people's unique situations" and "Embrace diversity and inclusion." The second component is "Helpful" and the actions below it are "Collaborate" "Educate and raise awareness" "Give accurate and timely information" and "Explain decisions and address concerns." The third component is "Doing it right" and the actions below it are "Presume good intentions" "Make it easy to comply" "Tailor our actions based on the degree of non-compliance" and "Resolve issues in a timely manner."
It is our overarching objective to ensure that all of our interactions with our clients consider their needs and expectations, making them feel valued and understood.
For example, vulnerable populations, such as modest-income households, Indigenous peoples, seniors, newcomers to Canada, and persons with disabilities may face barriers when it comes to filing their income tax and benefit returns and getting the benefits and credits for which they are eligible.
We want clients to have easy access to clear, accurate, consistent and timely information. We also want them to easily understand their obligations to make it easier for them to comply.
Over the planning period, our objectives for providing a seamless service experience are to:
- provide our clients with access to easy-to-understand information
- interact with clients in ways that are integrated, tailored, digital and accessible, while leaving no one behind
- reduce the compliance burden of our clients
The CRA is exploring new ways of consulting clients and making sure we deliver services and programs the way they expect.
Providing our clients with access to easy‑to‑understand information
As part of our commitment to responding to client requests for new and easy-to-understand information, we will improve our communications as well as our program design and service delivery to better serve clients, maintaining their trust and increasing their levels of satisfaction. Over the planning period, the CRA will continue to:
- make information and services on our website easy to find and understand
- develop new client-focused educational products, such as podcasts and webinars, on complex compliance topics that require a greater understanding on the part of businesses, employers and other stakeholder groups
- streamline our background processes to support a more integrated approach to interacting with our clients and facilitate clients' use of online services
- enhance our analysis of client research, data, trends and public environment analysis and strategically use social media and other communication channels to learn more about clients' experiences in dealing with the CRA as well as the tax and benefit issues that matter most to them
- update our correspondence in response to client feedback to ensure clients uninterrupted access to benefit payments and credits, and evaluate the effectiveness of these strategies to make further improvements
- expand in-person outreach activities to Indigenous communities across the country to help them access the benefits and credits for which they are eligible
- develop additional information materials in newcomer and Indigenous languages to improve the accessibility of information for people who do not speak English or French
- improve outreach, small business liaison, and Community Volunteer Income Tax Program services to territorial residents through the Northern Service Centres
- partner with other government departments to consult with organizations representing Indigenous peoples on service expectations with regard to implementing Bill C-91: An act respecting Indigenous languages
- May 2020 – enable clients to view more of their tax information on the My Business Account online portal by:
- increasing by two years the breadth of the information displayed, to seven years
- enhancing our "View expected and filed returns" and "View rebate status" services to display details regardless of the document's status
- May 2020 – reduce the potential risk of interruptions to clients' benefits payments and credits by updating CRA letters and envelopes to highlight the need for clients' action
A recent public opinion survey revealed that clients find CRA correspondence envelopes difficult to distinguish from other generic correspondence. They suggested we add colour stamps to envelopes to differentiate them from other non-CRA correspondence.
- June 2020 – make it easier for clients to apply for the disability tax credit based on feedback from clients and medical practitioners
- October 2020 – enable clients' representatives to update client information and provide estate documents (for example, wills, death certificates) in our Represent a Client online portal
- March 2021 – use feedback from our clients to refine—and begin testing new prototypes of—clients' most commonly accessed CRA apps, forms and webpages
- May 2021 – enable corporate clients to view their notices of assessment in certified corporation tax preparation software
- March 2022 – provide our small to medium sized contact centres with opportunities to transform, optimize, and leverage new technologies to provide clients with an enhanced seamless service experience
Interactions are integrated, tailored, digital‑first and accessible
As we transform our program design and service delivery using a client-centric approach, we will enhance and integrate all of our service channels. In addition, we will:
- use innovative engagement methods—including design jams and service pilots—to inform the development of our programs and services in ways that meet the needs of clients
- offer clients more personalized services and outreach
- equip employees with the necessary client experience tools and training to support them in transforming how our programs and services are designed
- enhance the overall experience for clients claiming the scientific research and experimental development tax credit by strengthening client relationships to promote predictable self assessment
- be proactive in providing clients information on:
- our Community Volunteer Income Tax Program, which provides access to the expertise needed to file a return and apply for benefits and credits
- potential eligibility for benefits to clients who have not sent us their tax returns, so that those that are eligible receive payments
- develop a strategy to ensure that, no matter how clients interact with us, we communicate with a single voice, providing our clients with a seamless and consistent service experience across all service channels
- May 2020 – streamline the payment experience for business clients by integrating the ability to make a payment through their non‑CRA products, such as tax preparation software
- Update our three online portals, My Account, My Business Account and Represent a Client, to:
- May 2020 – enable more clients who are being audited, and their representatives, to view appropriate audit information related to their account
- October 2020 – confirm to clients that we have received documents they have sent to us electronically through our Submit Documents service
- September 2020 – use client insights and design thinking to identify challenges that clients experience in their interactions with the CRA and barriers to better client service
- March 2021 – educate individuals about the benefits for which they may be eligible by mailing out an additional 200,000 letters
- March 2022 – offer a call-back option to callers to our business enquiries telephone line
- March 2022 – proactively provide clients, using predictive analytics, with supplementary and technical information and expert assistance related to tax deductions and credits or complex information requests
- March 2023 – ensure more timely resolution of clients' disputes by modernizing our appeals systems to enable employees to have a more holistic view of clients' file
Reducing the compliance burden of our clients
To begin reducing the compliance burden of our clients, we will undertake the following activities:
- improve our information and tools to help clients avoid common errors when they apply for benefits or self‑assess their tax situation
- give clients more opportunities to address simple compliance issues before taking audit or compliance action
- take a proactive role in helping to determine clients' tax liabilities, using more information provided to us from third parties who deal with those clients; this prevents the need for clients' returns to be amended at a later date, and ensures the CRA is
- able to base clients' benefits payments on accurate information
- improve client awareness about their reporting obligations and support the sharing of information and best practices within the contracting community
- look for opportunities to work with government and non-government partners to simplify reporting and reduce the burden of filing tax and benefit returns
- seek to provide large business clients with earlier tax certainty
- March 2021 – get clients' (payers and recipients) perspectives through public opinion research and stakeholder consultations to better understand the challenges they experience when they report fees‑for-services
- March 2021 – launch initiatives to improve employers' understanding of their remitting and reporting obligations
With CRA's modernized technology, we can verify tax and benefit returns against information slips filed by third parties (like T4 slips from employers), reducing the number of reassessments that would be issued many months later.
- October 2021 – help businesses comply by sending advance email reminders that returns or payments are due
- March 2022 – further simplify how clients and their representatives communicate with us during the verification of tax returns by enabling the upload of more information through our My Account and Represent a Client online portals
- March 2022 – make the process of completing advance pricing arrangements more timely and responsive to taxpayers' needs while ensuring appropriate transfer prices are being used by multinational enterprises
- March 2022 – make it easier for clients to get a resolution on their first call, eliminating the need to call again or write to another CRA program area, by empowering front-line employees with appropriate tools and accesses
The CRA seeks to apply relevant laws equitably to maintain both the fairness of how we administer Canada's tax and benefits system and our clients' perception of our fairness. To do so, we strive to identify and address intentional non-compliance to ensure that all clients are paying their share.
We will continue to use various data sources and analytical approaches to maximize our ability to detect and deter the most serious instances of non-compliance, taking responsible compliance actions where necessary.
Non-compliance takes many forms: it may be the result of errors, a misunderstanding of rules or a lack of appropriate information. In some cases, a client may choose not to comply. Identifying and addressing non-compliance is a large part of what the CRA does. This supports revenue collection, but also promotes fairness in the tax and benefits administration system by ensuring that all clients are paying their required share of taxes.
This pullout quote states: "We will continue to use various data sources and analytical approaches to maximize our ability to detect and deter the most serious instances of non-compliance."
The CRA adapts its compliance approach depending on the type of non-compliance. The strong legislative foundation that underpins the administration of Canada's tax laws promotes compliant behaviour. We do this through reviews, outreach and education, sanctions and penalties for non-compliance and tools such as requirements for employers to report earnings and withhold source deductions. We also pay particular attention to multinational enterprises and high-net-worth individuals; more than a third of our audit resources are dedicated to the large business and high-net-worth population. The CRA automatically risk assesses 100% of tax returns filed by large businesses every year, as they are deemed to be of highest risk. The most egregious cases of wilful non-compliance are referred to the Public Prosecution Service of Canada to be considered for criminal prosecution. Once an assessment or reassessment is confirmed (that is, it is not subject to dispute), the CRA takes steps to ensure clients pay the amounts owed. Where clients may not be able to meet their tax obligations because of personal misfortune or circumstances beyond their control, the CRA's relief provisions allow the Minister to exercise her discretion to help by, for example, cancelling or waiving penalties and interest that would otherwise be due.
This pullout quote states: "When undertaking interventions to address non-compliance, the CRA strives to maintain a client-centric approach. This means that we adapt our intervention to the circumstances, while remaining professional, transparent and honest in how we treat the client."
When undertaking interventions to address non-compliance, the CRA strives to maintain a client-centric approach. This means that we adapt our intervention to the circumstances, while remaining professional, transparent and honest in how we treat the client. In addition, we ensure our decisions are timely and that the outcomes of our actions respect the legislation and applicable policy. The CRA is committed to treating all clients with respect, regardless of the extent of the non-compliance that we have identified. We strive to ensure that non‑compliance is detected and addressed, using sound risk management to guide our reviews, audits, criminal investigations, and debt collection, along with education and outreach.
The CRA works hard to understand client behaviour and identify areas of economic activity that are at highest risk of non-compliance. The CRA has expanded its tools and capacity to target clients who attempt to conceal their assets to avoid paying their share of tax, thanks to a combined investment of over $1 billion in the 2016, 2017, 2018, and 2019 budgets. These investments support the CRA's efforts to combat aggressive tax avoidance and tax evasion and improve tax compliance. By leveraging business intelligence and analyzing available data, the CRA regularly monitors tax compliance in Canada's real estate sector, with a significant focus on major centers such as the Greater Toronto Area and the Lower Mainland in British Columbia. We have also established new real estate audit teams in the high-risk regions of British Columbia and Ontario dedicated to addressing non-compliance in the real estate sector. In addition, we have hired additional auditors, conducted outreach and education, and built technical expertise to target non‑compliance associated with cryptocurrency transactions and the digital economy.
Engaging with our global partners is instrumental in maintaining fairness. We participate in various international forums to examine how other tax administrations assess risk to their revenue bases, and identify areas of common concern across jurisdictions.
Over the planning period, we will focus on:
- enhancing our ability to detect and deter non-compliance
- strengthening collaboration with other tax administrations
- improving how we manage the tax debt
Enhancing our ability to detect significant non-compliance
Wilful acts of non-compliance, such as failing to comply with tax obligations related to registering, filing and reporting, tax evasion and aggressive tax avoidance, can place the integrity of Canada's tax system at risk. Anti-avoidance rules and tax loopholes are systematically reviewed to ensure that the wealthy do not benefit from unfair tax breaks and that international corporations pay taxes in accordance with Canada's tax laws. To enhance our ability to detect tax evasion and avoidance, the CRA will continue to:
- undertake research and conduct studies and analyses to improve our understanding of and ability to identify clients with the highest risk of non-compliance
- capitalize on education opportunities and feedback mechanisms to educate clients on entitlements, obligations, and reporting errors
- gain access to better data and improve our business intelligence, supported by advanced data analytics, to identify the interventions that best support compliance and help ensure that only those who are eligible receive benefits payments
- expand our capacity to gather information about non-compliant taxpayers, while ensuring we respect their privacy
- undertake research concerning the best practices of other tax administrations to identify potential ways to boost the actions the CRA is already taking to fight tax cheating through our Offshore Tax Informant Program
- use industry knowledge and business intelligence to keep up with e-commerce trends and target non-compliance
- explore how new and alternative sources of data and information through internal and external sources—and innovative ways to use our existing data—can enable the CRA to more effectively detect and resolve potential non compliance
- enhance our information technology infrastructure and criminal investigations tools to fight tax evasion and aggressive tax avoidance
- improve our risk assessments daily through additional data, new software and enhanced algorithms
- increase our knowledge and experience with compliance risks posed by new technologies (cryptocurrencies, digital delivery and platform series)
- target non-compliance among high net-worth clients, their related entities and those that enable tax avoidance by risk assessing that population and conducting audits
- April 2020 – continue to increase audit efforts to address high risk issues within the real estate sector in the Greater Toronto and Greater Vancouver areas, using our new real estate audit teams
- December 2020 – develop a dedicated compliance strategy to better detect and address non-compliance in digital commerce for both income tax and goods and services tax/harmonized sales tax
- March 2021 – refine, add and automate algorithms to improve the risk assessment of high-net-worth individuals and their related economic entities
Strengthening trust, transparency and accountability
Todays' global economy requires intensified international co-operation and greater integration among revenue administrations around the world, including transparent systems and information-sharing across borders. International engagement helps ensure the integrity and fairness of Canada's tax system and improve the efficiency and effectiveness of its administration. In the context of the global economy, effective and fair tax administration is best achieved when countries collaborate so those who seek to avoid or evade their obligations have fewer opportunities to do so. We will continue to:
- engage with other organizations to share best practices and learn about their whistleblower programs
- use our work with other tax administrations to effectively and efficiently deal with emerging tax avoidance and tax evasion issues
- lead efforts to strengthen tax administration capacity in developing countries through our active participation in the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), and in particular, its Forum on Tax Administration (with Commissioner Bob Hamilton as the Vice-Chair)
- support work being done by the OECD and the G20 to address tax challenges from the digital economy
- further develop the Knowledge Sharing Platform for Tax Administrations, a global online tool to share tax knowledge and expertise to enhance tax capacity building efforts in developing countries
- adopt a coordinated approach to risk‑assessing participating multinational enterprise groups through a pilot program (International Compliance Assurance Programme), involving 18 tax administrations, that aims to reduce the resource burden on both multinational enterprises and tax administrations using country-by-country reports and other information to facilitate open and co-operative multilateral engagements
- enhance tax administrations' mutual understanding of key transfer pricing risks, and develop a global risk register to enhance tax administrations' views and approaches
- promote early tax certainty and international co-operation among all tax administrations by conducting joint audits; this is an effective tool to ensure the right amount of tax is paid while minimizing the risk of double taxation
- participate in the Joint Chiefs of Global Tax Enforcement, established in 2018 by leaders of tax enforcement authorities from Australia, Canada, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom and the United States to combat transnational tax crime and enablers of global tax evasion by making the most of shared data, intelligence and technology
- September 2020 – provide early tax comfort to multinational enterprises by facilitating transparent, open, and co-operative multilateral engagements between them and other tax administrations in completing the OECD's International Compliance Assurance Programme 2.0 Pilot
- December 2021 – enhance the understanding of key risks and compliance approaches among international tax administrations by sharing CRA knowledge and other information concerning transfer pricing
Improving how we manage tax debt
The CRA collects tax debts, as well as other types of government debt, assessed through federal, provincial and territorial laws. Collecting outstanding tax owing and other debts is critical to protecting Canada's tax base and providing governments across Canada with the revenue needed to support programs and priorities. We will continue to:
- evolve our collections strategies to more effectively enforce Canada's tax laws and policies responsibly while striving to maintain our clients' trust in the fairness and integrity of the CRA and the Canadian tax system
- prevent new tax debt by better understanding what is driving clients to accumulate these tax debts
- increase client education and provide improved tools for them to self-resolve their tax debts
- expedite the processing of clients' tax and other debt payments to avoid unnecessary debts appearing on their files
- increase timely interventions with our clients by making our tax debt correspondence more accessible, concise and clear
- maximize the effectiveness of our debt management call centres
- build on our strong foundation of analytics and risk assessment to ensure that CRA collection activities are carried out in ways that are fair for all clients
- March 2021 – resolve the remaining $1.9 billion in tax debt (of the original $7.4 billion) committed to by the CRA as a result of Budget 2016 investments
- March 2021 – develop a timeliness service standard for responding to telephone enquiries received on the Debt Management Call Centre toll-free phone lines
- March 2023 – tailor tax debt resolution services, following ongoing pilot projects to gather business intelligence, to different categories of clients, like vulnerable populations, family members of deceased individuals, or businesses, by creating teams specialized in their specific issues
Underlying our administration of Canada's tax and benefits system is trust that the CRA is fair in its dealings with all its clients. The CRA fosters trust by being transparent and accountable, making more information available for public awareness and use.
This pullout quote states: "The CRA takes its responsibility to maintain clients' trust very seriously"
A key component of this trust is confidence that client information must always be protected, as it has the potential to directly influence compliance rates. To meet their tax obligations and receive any benefits for which they are eligible, our clients must give us personal and financial information. The CRA has an excellent reputation for safeguarding this information; however, we are operating in a public environment that is increasingly concerned about the potential for data breaches and identity theft. This is why we continue to make investments in security and to evolve our IT security strategy in order to protect CRA data, information assets, and IT infrastructure from increasingly sophisticated cybersecurity threats.
These investments will strengthen our operational efficiencies, our agility to provide new digital services more frequently, and our ability to adopt new technologies earlier. They will also increase client satisfaction with CRA services by providing more ways for clients and partnering government departments to interact with us, and by enhancing the digital services we offer.
This pullout quote states: "We are committed to being clear and transparent when reporting to our clients about the performance results that we have achieved."
Protecting privacy and confidentiality rights is central to the CRA's integrity. The protection of our clients' privacy is managed through:
- strict adherence with the protections contained in the Income Tax Act and the Access to Information and Privacy Act
- our commitment to our Code of Integrity and Professional Conduct
- a strong culture of security enshrined in policy, procedures, training and awareness
We strive to be open in the way we manage our day-to-day operations and to achieve results that demonstrate quality, efficiency and effectiveness. We are committed to being clear and transparent when reporting to our clients about the performance results that we have achieved, and in our contribution to the Open Government initiative. We also believe that conducting our activities sustainably reinforces our clients' trust that we are using our resources efficiently and responsibly.
The CRA operates under a rigorous and ever-improving system of tools, technologies and processes. We are committed to supporting the integrity of employees and monitoring access to our network to protect the security of both people and information. For this reason, we continue to improve our information and data security practices to protect CRA's data repositories and expand our safeguards against data loss.
Our clients want the CRA to be more up-front about how we collect and use personal information, and they want more transparency in their dealings with government. Privacy and security are critical aspects of our business, from fostering a culture of integrity to preventing, monitoring, detecting, and managing any potential incidents.
Over the planning period, we will focus on:
- strengthening our security posture
- proactively responding to clients' privacy concerns
- increasing transparency
- promoting sustainable development
Strengthening our security posture
We are committed to protect and handle the personal and financial information of our clients in a secure and responsible manner. Given the rate at which technology advances, the CRA is continually modernizing security safeguards. To strengthen our security posture over the planning period, we will undertake the following activities:
- explore innovative ways to help employees understand their security responsibilities, through security awareness and training
- implement security technologies and processes, enhance controls to prevent and detect internal fraud and misuse of information, and expand access management controls and procedures to protect the confidentiality of client information
- increase our monitoring of information leaving the CRA in electronic format
- develop strategies to enhance security against insider threats
- March 2021 – expand the proactive monitoring of user actions on CRA systems while ensuring employees have the accesses they need to serve our clients
- June 2021 – improve the CRA's information technology and cyber‑security defenses and better protect client data from unauthorized access, alteration or loss (with the completion of Phase 2 of the Data Security Initiative)
- June 2022 – ensure that the CRA's information technology security program continues to be effective and that it adapts to new threats by completing a triennial third-party benchmark exercise to identify and prioritize opportunities to improve
Proactively responding to clients' privacy concerns
The trust our clients place in the CRA to safeguard the privacy of their personal information is a cornerstone of our work. We will continue to respond to clients' privacy concerns and to a changing landscape of increasingly frequent and prevalent data breaches and scams.
To continue to be proactive in how we respond to clients' privacy expectations, we will:
- protect personal information and promote the importance of security
- uphold personal privacy rights in accordance with legislation and policy, including the management of internal privacy breaches
- clarify privacy responsibilities to ensure public accountability in how the CRA is protecting our clients' sensitive personal information
- strengthen awareness within the CRA about the importance of privacy for our clients
- clarify internal privacy accountabilities and interdependencies
- adopt the principles of privacy‑by‑design and build more CRA capacity for privacy management
- April 2020 – implement a CRA‑wide protocol for responding to external privacy breaches
- April 2020 – establish internal privacy governance structures
- June 2020 – update the CRA's web content related to the handling of personal information
- March 2021 – develop a CRA‑wide privacy training and awareness plan
- March 2021 – build on ongoing activities to promote videos on fraud and scam awareness by increasing the frequency and scope of proactive outreach across the country, using media, social media, and stakeholder associations
Canada is a member of the multilateral Open Government Partnership which has over 70 participating countries committed to making their governments more open, accountable and responsive to citizens. Open government connects people to the governments which serve them, and helps make policies and services more citizen centred. To support this endeavour, the CRA contributes to the federal Open Government initiative, proactively releasing data and information, except that which must be withheld for privacy, confidentiality and security reasons.
To demonstrate our commitment to provide effective service to clients and to improve our transparency and accountability, we continue to:
- set service standards that publicly state, on canada.ca, the level of service that our clients can reasonably expect from the CRA
- take steps to reinforce transparency, accountability and client‑focused service by making sure all of our performance indicators and measured results are clearly stated, accurate, consistent, ambitious and meaningful to our clients
- emphasize the importance of ensuring that our policies are up‑to‑date so that they provide our employees with the direction they need to do their jobs while supporting the CRA's accountabilities
- work with clients when we design our services, increasing transparency of the work CRA is doing and holding us accountable to their needs and expectations
- respond to recommendations from the 1st annual report of the Disability Advisory Committee (DAC), improving access to disability tax measures
- communicate information to our clients on emerging tax schemes
- publish enforcement notifications on a timely basis
- update internal guidelines and standards to move criminal investigation cases quicker, ensuring accused are tried within a reasonable timeframe
- April 2020 – publish a baseline measure, developed with industry experts, of how clients perceive their experiences with the CRA, to enable us to improve the service experience of clients
- December 2020 – enhance the timeliness of the CRA's responses to clients' letters to the Minister of National Revenue and CRA executives by implementing a more efficient tracking tool
Promoting sustainable development
Part of our accountability to clients is carrying out our tasks in a sustainable manner. As an employer of more than 46,000 people, we recognize the impact we have in the communities in which our employees live and work. We are committed to continuing to:
- minimize harmful emissions from our vehicle fleet
- purchase products responsibly to reduce environmental impacts
- take action to understand climate change impacts that could potentially affect our assets, services and operations across the country
- contribute to the United Nations' 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the United Nations' Sustainable Development goals
- June 2020 – implement a new sustainable development strategy to green our operations and drive our environmental sustainability agenda through to the end of 2023
- March 2021 – Reduce greenhouse gas emissions by purchasing 75% of new light-duty unmodified administrative fleet vehicle as zero-emission vehicles or hybrids where operationally feasible
Innovation is the positive change that is required to adapt to current challenges and changing circumstances. The CRA will continue to maintain and encourage a culture of innovation in the workplace. The success we achieve in innovating depends on empowering our employees to make continuous improvements, using processes like LEAN, a set of principles that, among other things, helps identify improvements by looking at processes from the client's perspective. We want our employees to take ownership of their work, try different things, take intelligent risks, and experiment with new ideas.
Our clients expect the CRA to change and adapt to deliver the services they need, when and where they need them, and how they like to use them. Changing the way we operate requires us to shift our focus from the rigid following of administrative procedures and rules, towards problem-solving. Although innovation can be disruptive and challenging, it is an essential means for the CRA to meet clients' expectations, remain efficient and seek ways to apply new technologies.
The CRA recognizes the importance of innovation to deliver our mandate. As we continue to advance innovative efforts across the organization, we are challenging ourselves to look beyond established business practices and familiar mindsets. The CRA is promoting the conditions for innovation so employees at all levels think critically about how they do their work, collaborate, network and experiment with new ideas.
Over the planning period, we will:
- foster innovative mindsets and approaches
- enhance our operations through continuous improvement
- explore innovative technologies and analytical methods
Foster innovative mindsets and approaches
Aligned with the Government of Canada's Beyond2020 public service renewal initiative, the CRA recognizes that the mindsets and behaviours of its employees are crucial to drive innovation and affect sustainable change. This change goes beyond modifying policies, procedures, and structures. It represents a change in culture and behaviours. Recognizing this, the CRA is exploring new ways to:
- build comfort levels with taking intelligent risks and learning from past experiences on our path forward
- create an environment where employees learn from each other, leverage lessons learned and embrace challenges and setbacks with creativity and imagination
- explore and experiment with new ways to encourage employees to think differently about what is possible to drive positive change
- use experimentation to measure new approaches in order to determine what is working and what is not at a small scale before adopting these approaches broadly
- foster collaborative relationships internally and with other federal, provincial and territorial government departments, civil society organizations, international counterparts and academia to gain innovative perspectives on common issues
This pullout quote states: "Our clients expect the CRA to change and adapt to deliver the services they need, when and where they need them, and how they like to use them."
Enhance our operations through continuous improvement
The CRA values the small innovations occurring every day throughout the organization. We understand that small innovations can create a large impact. To foster a culture of continuous improvement, the CRA will:
- expand the use of LEAN, whose principles help identify root problems and generate recommendations to improve business processes and procedures, across the organization
- review our internal processes continually with the intent of improving service delivery
- foster an environment where employees feel empowered to propose ideas to enhance the activities that generate the most value to clients, rather than wait for senior management to direct them to make changes
- June 2020 – promote the use of LEAN principles across the organization by creating an agency‑wide community of practice
- March 2021 – apply LEAN principles to six key business processes to optimize resources and improve outcomes for clients
Explore innovative technologies and analytical methods
A great resource of this century is information. As the volume of data held by the CRA continues to grow, it is important for the CRA to further use its data holdings to achieve better outcomes for clients.
We will continue to invest in leading‑edge information technologies. This will strengthen our operational capabilities, including our agility in providing new services more frequently and adopting new technologies earlier, with the purpose of providing clients with a seamless digital service experience. We will undertake the following activities over the planning period:
- ensure our software designers and engineers have the expertise, tools and processes necessary to transform electronic processing capabilities
- experiment with using artificial intelligence (AI), to improve service in CRA business lines using tools such as chatbots, to detect non-compliance, and to increase the efficiency of internal operations
- April 2020 – implement a plan for the CRA's responsible use of AI, ensuring technological developments are aligned with business priorities and under appropriate governance
- March 2021 – experiment with improving service to clients and our detection of non-compliance using machine learning models (for example, models to detect goods and services tax/harmonized sales tax non-compliance)
- March 2021 – provide clients with reliable, accurate data by developing, testing and applying factors that help evaluate the quality of data before it is processed and released
The CRA's people vision is to sustain "a thriving workforce, combining strengths, and contributing to a transforming Canada". Our service journey requires us to foster a culture of service where everyone understands the importance of putting people first. The CRA aims to become a more agile learning organization, one whose employees are empowered to respond to the challenges, risks and opportunities that arise from the constantly evolving environment in which we operate.
The CRA's client-centric approach applies not only to our external clients, but also to how we work internally, being respectful and professional in the actions we take. We are committed to ingraining this approach in the CRA's organizational culture. To achieve this, we must support employees with the awareness, tools, training and leadership to put people first and deliver excellent service, both internally and externally.
These employees will then be equipped to become a thriving workforce that combines strengths and contributes to a transforming Canada. It will have the means to be healthy, agile, innovative, and learning—and always ready to take on new challenges. Combining strengths means bringing the right people together with the right combination of skills to deliver the best possible outcomes. As an organization of the federal public service, the CRA can never lose sight of its fundamental obligation: to deliver results for Canadians.
A thriving workforce, combining strengths and contributing to a transforming Canada
This pullout quote states: "For our organization to continue to be successful, we must continue to recruit the talent we need, especially in high demand specialties like data scientists, business analysts, forensic accountants, and project managers."
To best serve our clients, the CRA must strengthen and maintain a healthy, engaged and productive workforce. The CRA continues to invest in a modern workplace that promotes engagement, learning, collaboration, information sharing and increased productivity. We are committed to fostering, supporting and developing leaders who empower and inspire their employees to be engaged in their work, innovate and share ideas. We do this through initiatives like character‑based leadership, which we look to expand.
The CRA's employees at all levels should possess a character that exemplifies our organizational values and desired service culture. To address existing and emerging workforce needs, we are taking a proactive approach to acquiring talent.
A major transformation initiative that the CRA has undertaken is staffing redesign, which seeks to renew how our organization manages all aspects of staffing while keeping the needs of the client (the candidate for a job) at the centre of the process. We are working to both implement improved processes and experiment with new models to support the CRA's capacity to be agile and flexible in meeting its operational needs. Our goals include reducing the time to staff and enhancing the candidate's experience with the process.
This will better position the CRA in an increasingly competitive labour market. For our organization to continue to be successful, we must continue to recruit the talent we need, especially in high demand specialties like data scientists, business analysts, forensic accountants, and project managers.
We are also committed to fostering a culture of lear ning where employees have access to learning solutions to support them in maintaining and acquiring the skills and competencies to support them in their career development and the CRA in its transformation.
Employees are more likely to feel empowered to participate in this transformation if we provide them with a healthy workplace that minimizes harassment, discrimination and the potential for workplace violence. This means fostering safe, respectful and inclusive spaces, where employees can reach their full potential.
Our focus over the planning period will be on:
- addressing current and future workforce transformation needs
- supporting safety, respect, well-being, diversity and inclusion
Addressing current and future workforce transformation needs
At the CRA, we are committed to strengthening our service culture, which begins with trust and engagement between leaders and employees. The workplace of the future requires that we:
- provide a healthy and safe work environment
- create a culture that fosters continuous learning
- support employee well being, while still meeting business requirements in this new, rapidly changing environment, adapting to technology changing how, where, and when we work
- engage, mobilize and maximize our employees' skill sets
- identify recruitment gaps and the CRA's future needs
- train employees to apply a client‑centric approach in their respective roles to improve the service experience for our clients
- support employees in adopting the CRA's service culture by listening to their feedback and addressing barriers to providing the level of service that clients expect of CRA
- diversify our workforce through targeted recruitment to ensure emerging skillsets that are required to achieve our mandate
- May 2020 – consolidate and present to internal stakeholders the findings of consultations with internal and external stakeholders to understand the learning landscape at the CRA, as well as identify opportunities and best practices in learning
- September 2020 – provide our employees with the training, guidance and tools to understand client needs, preferences and expectations and deliver a better client experience
- October 2020 – develop an action plan and roadmap to prepare for the future of learning
- March 2021 – create a national mobility bank to make it easier for employees to move laterally across the CRA
- March 2022 – experiment with alternate staffing strategies to target existing and emerging workforce needs
Supporting respect, well-being, diversity and inclusion
A healthy and empowering work environment fosters a productive and high performing workforce. We are dedicated to creating healthy workplaces by:
- promoting civility and respect, and respectfully challenging behaviours that do not reflect CRA and Public Service values, as outlined in the Code of Integrity and Professional Conduct
- promoting support programs, resources, and tools to assist managers who are facing accessibility and other challenging workplace situations, including leading employees with mental health issues, addressing workplace conflict, harassment or violence, and accommodating illnesses or injuries
- demonstrating further progress against all three pillars of the Federal Public Service Workplace Mental Health Strategy
- addressing situations of harassment, violence and discrimination and highlighting the need to prevent these situations through civility and respect, and embracing diversity and inclusion
- March 2021 – implement a comprehensive action plan to ensure the CRA's compliance with the new legal and regulatory requirements that expand the definition of violence to include harassment
- March 2021 – implement the third phase of the CRA's Respectful Workplace and Well-Being Strategy in support of the Federal Public Service Mental Health Strategy
Spending trend (dollars)Footnote 3
|Core responsibilities and internal services||2017–18 Expenditures||2018–19 Expenditures||2019–20 Forecast||2020–21 Main Estimates||2020–21 Planned||2021–22 Planned||2022–23 Planned|
|Taxpayers' OmbudsmanFootnote 5||3,210,404
|Total Canada Revenue Agency||4,707,767,345||5,121,113,058||7,235,806,676||7,939,991,193||7,939,991,193||8,944,556,333||9,532,279,896|
The majority of the increase in the CRA's overall budget is attributable to its statutory appropriations which include spending associated with the climate action incentive (CAI) payment for fiscal years 2018–19 to 2022–23 (actual spending: $663.8 million in 2018–19; forecast and planned spending: $2.400 billion in 2019–20, $3.405 billion in 2020–21, $4.385 billion in 2021–22, and $5.055 billion in 2022–23). The CRA is responsible for the administration of the fuel charge in jurisdictions that do not meet the federal carbon pricing benchmark. This includes the delivery of the CAI payment which returns the majority of the direct proceeds from the fuel charge to individuals and families of the province in which the proceeds are raised.
Actual and forecast spending under the CRA's voted appropriations for fiscal years 2017–18 to 2019–20 also includes technical adjustments such as the CRA's carry-forward from the previous year and funding for severance payments, parental benefits, and vacation credits. In 2017–18, a significant portion of the increase in spending is associated with the cash out of severance benefits for employees represented by the Public Service Alliance of Canada, Union of Taxation Employees. In 2019–20 the increase in forecast spending is largely attributable to the aforementioned carry-forward as well to new funding to implement and administer measures announced in the Budget 2019 and growth in funding for federal budget and policy measures announced in prior years.
Over the planning period, the CRA's voted appropriations show a slight reduction, from $3.548 billion in 2020–21 to $3.496 billion in 2022–23. This is primarily as a result of a net decrease in funding received to implement and administer various measures announced in the federal budgets as well as for the federal carbon pollution pricing system and the taxation regime for cannabis. These reductions are partially offset by increases associated with collective bargaining adjustments.
Budgetary planning summary (dollars)
The following table reconciles gross planned spending with net planned spending for 2020–21.
|Core responsibilities and internal services||2020–21 Planned gross spending||2020–21 Planned revenues netted against expenditures||2020–21 Planned net spending|
|Taxpayers' OmbudsmanFootnote 6||3,780,057
|Total Canada Revenue Agency||8,330,689,212
Planned revenues netted against expenditures represent amounts to be recovered by the CRA for the provision of services to Employment and Social Development Canada for the administration of the Canada Pension Plan and the Employment Insurance Act.
|Core responsibilities and internal services||2017–18 actual||2018–19 actual||2019–20 forecastFootnote 7
||2020–21 planned||2021–22 planned||2022–23 planned|
|Taxpayers' OmbudsmanFootnote 8
|Total Canada Revenue Agency
The increase in forecast FTEs in 2019–20 is largely attributable to new funding received to implement and administer measures announced in the Budget 2019 as well as growth in funding for federal budget and policy measures announced in prior years, including the federal carbon pollution pricing system. The 2019–20 fiscal year also reflects an increase in FTEs associated with funding to address operational priorities. The decrease in internal services FTEs is largely due to the attribution of direct internal service costs to the programs starting in 2019–20 (primarily within the tax core responsibility).
Over the planning period, the reduction in FTEs from 41,790 in 2020–21 to 41,108 in 2022–23, is primarily the result of a decrease in funding for the federal carbon pollution pricing system and the taxation regime for cannabis.
||2019–20 Estimated results||2020–21 Planned results
||Difference (planned results minus estimated results)|
|Total non-tax revenues||567,533,586||564,858,471||(2,675,115)|
|Net cost of operations
The Condensed Future Oriented Statement of Operations provides a general overview of the CRA's operations. The forecast of financial information on expenses and revenues is prepared on an accrual accounting basis to strengthen accountability and to improve transparency and financial management. The estimated and planned spending amounts presented in other sections are prepared on an expenditure basis; as a result, amounts may differ. A more detailed Future Oriented Statement of Operations and associated notes, including a reconciliation of the net cost of operations to the requested Parliamentary appropriations, are available in the CRA's Departmental Plan.
An organizational chart depicting the Minister, Commissioner, Deputy Commissioner, Taxpayers' Ombudsman, Chair, Board of Management, Headquarters Programs, Regions, Internal Services
The Honourable Diane Lebouthillier, P.C., M.P.
Canada Revenue Agency Act
Chair, Board of Management
Year of commencement
The Canada Revenue Agency Act sets out the mandate, structure and authorities of the CRA. It establishes a governance structure for the Agency that is unique in Canada, comprising a Minister, a Board of Management (the Board), a Commissioner, and a Taxpayers' Ombudsman. The Minister is responsible to Parliament for all CRA activities and exercises powers relating to regulation‑making and providing reports to Parliament or the Governor in Council (Cabinet). The Board is responsible for overseeing the organization and administration of the CRA and the management of its resources, services, property, personnel and contracts. It is also responsible for the development of the Corporate Business Plan. The CRA is headed by a Commissioner who is accountable to the Minister and must assist and advise him or her with respect to legislated authorities, duties, functions, and Cabinet responsibilities. As the CRA's chief executive officer, the Commissioner is responsible for the day‑to‑day management of the CRA. The mandate of the Ombudsman is to enhance the Canada Revenue Agency's accountability in its services to taxpayers by offering a service complaint mechanism that is independent of the CRA. The Ombudsman is responsible for upholding the Taxpayer Bill of Rights.
Reporting framework and planned resultsFootnote 9
The following indicators are used by the CRA to assess its overall progress toward the achievement of its expected result for its core responsibilities. For more information on the methodologies used to calculate these indicators, go to GC InfoBase.
Results shown in dark-shaded cells are results that can be compared to previous year results, as there is no change to the indicator or the methodology used to calculate it. Results shown in light-shaded cells are results for which the indicator or methodology has changed, therefore prior year results are not comparable.
Expected result and program inventory
Canadians voluntarily comply with their tax obligations, non‑compliance is addressed, and Canadians have trust in the CRA
- tax services and processing
- returns compliance
- domestic compliance
- international and large business compliance and criminal investigations
- objections and appeals
- taxpayer relief
- service compliance
- registered plan
- policy, rulings and interpretations
|Performance indicator||2020–21 target||2018–19 result||2017–18 result||2016–17 result|
|Percentage of individual tax returns filed on time
|Percentage of businesses registered for GST/HSTFootnote 10||Target to be established by December 2020
|Percentage of reported tax liabilities paid on timeFootnote 11||Target to be established by April 2020
|Percentage of external service standards targets that are met or mostly metFootnote 14
|Public perception index: Service experienceFootnote 15||Target to be established by December 2020
||6.85 (increase)||6.28 (decrease)||6.73 (increase)|
|Public perception index: TrustFootnote 16
||Target to be established by December 2020
|Percentage of Canadians who participate in the tax systemFootnote 17||Target to be established by April 2020||n/a||n/a||n/a|
|Ratio of collectible tax debt to total net receipts (cash accounting)Footnote 18
||Target to be established by April 2020||n/a||n/a||n/a|
|Number of individuals helped by the Community Volunteer Income Tax ProgramFootnote 19
|Incremental revenue resulting from budget investments||$1.7B
|Incremental debt collected (resolved) resulting from Budget 2016 investments
||$7.4B by March 2021
Expected result and program inventory
Canadians receive their rightful benefits in a timely manner
|2018–19 result||2017–18 result||2016–17 result|
|Percentage of Canada child benefit (CCB) payments issued to recipients on time||100%||100%Footnote 21||100%Footnote 21||99.99%|
|Percentage of respondents satisfied with overall benefits experienceFootnote 22||Target to be established by December 2020||84%||n/aFootnote 23||n/aFootnote 24|
|Percentage of taxpayers (benefit recipients) who filed a return as a result of targeted CRA intervention||10%||7.9%||8.1%||n/aFootnote 20|
CRA staffing principles
||Staffing is flexible and responsive to the changing circumstances and to the unique or special needs of the organization.|
||Staffing is planned and carried out taking into consideration time and cost, and it is linked to business requirements.|
||Staffing is equitable, just and objective.|
|Productiveness||Staffing results in the required number of competent people being appointed to conduct the CRA’s business.|
||Communications about staffing are open, honest, respectful, timely and easy to understand.|
||The workforce possesses the attributes required for effective job performance.|
||The workforce and staffing decisions must be free from political and bureaucratic influence.|
||The composition of our workforce reflects the labour market availability of employment equity designated groups.|
Taxpayer Bill of Rights
A description of the rights Canadian taxpayers have under the Taxpayer Bill of Rights.
The title of the image is Taxpayer Bill of Rights.
On the left-hand side of the image are the words, from top to bottom, You Have The Right To. Sixteen parallel horizontal lines lead from those words to a list of the sixteen rights that Canadian taxpayers have. Those rights, on the right-hand side of the page, are listed, from top to bottom, as follows:
- receive entitlements and to pay no more and no less than what is required by law
- service in both official languages
- privacy and confidentiality
- a formal review and a subsequent appeal
★ be treated professionally, courteously, and fairly
★ complete, accurate, clear, and timely information
- unless otherwise provided by law, not to pay income tax amounts in dispute before you have had an impartial review
- have the law applied consistently
- lodge a service complaint and to be provided with an explanation of our findings
★ have the costs of compliance taken into account when administering tax legislation
★ expect us to be accountable
- relief from penalties and interest under tax legislation because of extraordinary circumstances
★ expect us to publish our service standards and report annually
★ expect us to warn you about questionable tax schemes in a timely manner
★ be represented by a person of your choice
- lodge a service complaint and request a formal review without fear of reprisal
★ These rights are under the mandate of the Taxpayers' Ombudsman
Below the description of the Taxpayer Bill of Rights is a title that says Commitment to Small Business
Underneath this title is a statement that reads The Canada Revenue Agency is committed to
Below this statement there are five lines that lead downward to text explaining what the Canada Revenue Agency is committed to.
Reading from left to right the individual texts state the following:
- administering the tax system in a way that minimizes the costs of compliance for small businesses
- working with all governments to streamline service, minimize cost, and reduce the compliance burden
- providing service offerings that meet the needs of small businesses
- conducting outreach activities that help small businesses comply with the legislation we administer
- explaining how we conduct our business with small businesses
Estimates by vote: For information on the CRA's organizational appropriations, consult the 2019–20 Main Estimates.
Detailed future oriented statement of operations and associated notes, including a reconciliation of the net cost of operations to the requested authorities, are available on the CRA's departmental webpage.
Supporting information on planned expenditures, human resources, and results related to the CRA's Program Inventory is available in the GC InfoBase.
The following supplementary information tables are available on the CRA's Departmental Plan webpage.
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